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Can Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea

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Can Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea

Dentistry with TLC: Treating Sleep Apnea

If you are having trouble sleeping and tend to snore a lot, your oral health could be a culprit.

Around 18 million Americans suffer from a condition called sleep apnea that hampers breathing patterns while you sleep.

So you may wake up feeling tired or lethargic due to the interruption in sleep patterns that wakes you up through the night. Luckily, your dentists may be able to help treat your condition. Wondering how? We reached out to a team of cosmetic dentists from San Antonio who practices at Stone Oaks Aesthetic to learn about the role a dentist can play in treating sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Faqs And How A Dentist Can Help

In recent years, the dental industry has taken an active role in the treatment of OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea. In fact, many sleep apnea sufferers today have chosen to use oral appliances as an alternative to CPAP . For those individuals who are afflicted with OSA, the following FAQs may answer any questions you are having regarding this condition and the treatment of it.

Does the dentist diagnose and treat my sleep apnea?

In many cases, a dentist will work in conjunction with a sleep apnea specialist to help treat the patient. By working together, the physician and sleep apnea specialist can evaluate the seriousness of the patients condition in order to determine the treatment modality that will provide them with the best quality of life.

How does sleep apnea affect people?

Over 20 million Americans suffer with sleep apnea today. This condition can lead to more serious issues such as depression, fatigue and sleepiness during the day, heart attack, hypertension, muscle pain, and stroke. In fact, if you suffer with sleep apnea, you have a 23% greater chance of having a heart attack than someone who doesnt.

What are some of the more common symptoms of OSA?

The most common symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea include:

  • > chronic, loud snoring
  • > excessive daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • > impotence
  • > intermittent breathing stoppages when sleeping
  • > irritability
  • > poor sleeping habits
  • > restlessness

What should I do if I have a CPAP but cant wear it?

Getting Oral Devices To Treat Sleep Apnea

Oral devices should only be used when recommended by your physician who is overseeing the treatment plan for OSA. These devices are provided by dentists specialized in sleep medicine who then follow up with their patient and help adjust the treatment plan as needed.

Over-the-counter devices for sleep apnea treatment are never recommended. Though these products are cheaper and readily available, they often only alleviate symptoms, such as snoring. Over-the-counter oral devices often do not prevent the dangerous apneas that occur while you are asleep.

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Can A General Dentist Help Patients Who Have Sleep Apnea

Yes. This means that some dentists have chosen to help manage and treat any of their patients who have been diagnosed with a sleeping disorder, like sleep apnea. According to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, dental sleep medicine is an area of dental practice that focuses on the use of oral appliance therapy to treat sleep-disordered breathing, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea .

Can A General Dentist Help With Treating Sleep Apnea

Can My Dentist Help Treat Sleep Apnea?

A general dentist has the skills and experience to treat mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. To treat this condition, the dentist may recommend custom-made oral appliances. It is crucial to learn about the condition to get a full grasp of how a general dentist treats sleep apnea. This article addresses this, as well as the treatment option available to patients.

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Can A Dentist Treat Sleep Apnea

by Cyrus B. | Apr 14, 2021 | Periodontics |

At Think Oral Implants and Periodontics, Dr. Ting helps patients to treat their sleep apnea with dental appliances. Obstructive sleep apnea affects millions of adults. This occurs when a blocked or collapsed airway causes pauses in breathing while sleeping. This condition can cause significant health issues to those who leave it untreated for their life.

How Do I Order An Oral Appliance For Obstructive Sleep Apnea

If you and your doctor decide that an oral device is a good option, you will need a referral to an appropriate dentist to have an evaluation. The dentist will decide if you are a candidate for this treatment and make an impression of your teeth. The dentist will make the device and call you back for a fitting. You will also be given a morning repositioner to realign your bite after the appliance is removed. He or she will also give you instructions on how to use and clean the appliance. You might also have to go back to the dentist for further custom adjustments to optimize care. Once care is completed, it is recommended that have another sleep test to see how the appliance is working for you. Further adjustments may be necessary.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Often the first signs of obstructive sleep apnea are recognized not by the patient, but by the bed partner. Many of those affected have no sleep complaints. The most common symptoms of OSA include:

  • Sudden awakenings with a sensation of gasping or choking
  • Dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening
  • Intellectual impairment, such as trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, or irritability
  • Night sweats

An Overview Of Sleep Apnea

“Why a Dentist should treat for Sleep Apnea”

There are two types of this condition. The first is called obstructive, and the second is called central. Some people can have a combination of the two. Obstructive occurs when something is blocking the persons airway at night, causing the individual to stop and restart breathing throughout the night. These interruptions can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and can occur several times while the person is asleep. Obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and having a thick neck can contribute to this dysfunction.

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What Types Of Dental Devices Can Treat Sleep Apnea

Dr. Schneider can provide several options to treat your sleep apnea. He determines the most appropriate treatment by assessing your overall health and specific sleep apnea symptoms.

If you have mild to moderate symptoms, Dr. Schneider may recommend using an individually fitted mouthpiece to keep your airway open while you sleep. Two types of sleep apnea mouthpieces provide effective relief from symptoms related to airway blockages.

  • A mandibular repositioning mouthpiece is the most common oral appliance used to treat sleep apnea. It covers your upper and lower teeth, similar to a sports mouthguard, and it holds your jaw in a position that prevents it from blocking your upper airway.
  • 2. A tongue retaining device is used less frequently. This device consists of a splint that holds the tongue in a forward position to keep the upper airway open.

    Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, and losing weight, can also help reduce mild symptoms related to obstructive sleep apnea. Repositioning yourself to sleep on your side instead of your back also reduces the likelihood of your tongue blocking your airway.

    How Are Snoring And Sleep Apnea Diagnosed

    Symptoms of sleep apnea include heavy snoring, headaches and migraines upon waking, restless sleep, excessive daytime fatigue, problems focusing, irritability, depression and TMJ symptoms.

    Though loud snoring is a notorious symptom and may indicate a potentially serious problem, not everyone who has sleep apnea will snore. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should visit a medical professional so you can receive a proper diagnosis.

    Once your issue has been diagnosed by a medical professional, your dentists can help you get a better nights rest with a number of treatment options. We will complete a full examination of your teeth, tongue, airway and jaw, and potentially take an x-ray of your airway, to determine the right appliance for your needs.

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    Find The Best Treatment Options For Sleep Apnea

    The journey toward successful management of obstructive sleep apnea and its symptoms should start today. Discuss your concerns with your primary physician and request an overnight sleep evaluation. The trained specialists at Sleep Health Solutions will work with your healthcare providers to effectively diagnose and treat any sleep disorder.

    Contact Sleep Health Solutions at or use the contact form below to request a consultation.

    Dr. Rosenberg is specialized in sleep medicine and neurology. He is also certified by the American Board of Sleep Disorders Medicine and the American Board of Psychology and Neurology. Patients with a wide range of issues are referred for sleep studies and he works together with them to find effective solutions that fit their lifestyle.

    A Dental Examination To Identify Sleep Apnea

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea: How Your Dentist &  Oral Appliance ...

    Dentists have the knowledge and training to diagnose sleep apnea. The dentist will start by taking X-rays of the patients mouth and neck. These pictures could reveal abnormally large tissues in the throat or other blockage in the airway. The dentist may also do a hands-on examination to determine what is obstructing the persons breathing.

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    How Is Sleep Apnea Treated

    Loud, uncomfortable machines are often used to treat sleep apnea. Surgery can also be an option for treating the disorder. If these treatments dont sound ideal, youll be better off working with your dentist to try to resolve the disorder. If your sleep apnea has its roots in dental issues, treatment might be more effective, too.

    How To Fix Sleep Apnea Through Your Dentist

    Sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep disorder. The major signs of sleep apnea include: feeling short of breath, pauses in breathing, loud and chronic snoring, waking up at night, daytime sleepiness and fatigue, attention problems, irritability, morning headaches as well as choking, snorting or gasping during a sleep. Breathing is interrupted because the muscles around a tongue are relaxed during a sleep. As a result, the airflow to the lungs is blocked.

    Sleep apnea sufferers may have many interruptions in breathing at night. Actually, the severity of it is determined by the number of pauses in breathing per hour. So, if you as a person experience 5 14 pauses in breathing per hour during a nights sleep that means that you have mild sleep apnea. If you experience 15 30 pauses in breathing per hour during a nights sleep that means you have moderate sleep apnea. If you experience more than 30 pauses in breathing that means that you have severe sleep apnea.

    Obviously, sleep apnea is a serious health condition that requires a quick and effective treatment. So, if you believe that you might be suffering from it then you should definitely contact us at PJN Dental as soon as possible. After analyzing your problem carefully, Dr. Pascal Nguyen will be able to recommend the appropriate sleep apnea treatment option for you. But how can a dentist fix apnea? Lets dive in.

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    Your Health And Quality Of Life

    The quality of sleep you get every night can impact dramatically on your health, overall quality of life, and well-being. Obstructive sleep apnea and snoring not only disrupts your sleep but also increases your risks of severe health problems. You need to remember that snoring is a warning sign that shouldnt be ignored. Throughout America, one in five adults is suffering from this problem and exposing themselves to the risks of hypertension, cardiovascular conditions and other problems that affect them. People are usually approaching physicians or cardiologists when they come across these conditions forgetting that dentists who have received the training in dental sleep medicine can provide them with oral appliance therapy for treating snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. People had recommended discussing the problem with their physician as well as their dentist near me about the treatment options available to them.

    Oral Appliance Therapy Is Affordable Compared To Other Methods Of Detecting Sleep Apnea

    Dentistry with TLC: Treating Sleep Apnea

    Even before dentists pioneered the use of oral appliance therapy general physicians working with sleep physicians were recommending patients suspected of having sleep apnea to undergo tests at a sleep clinic located far away from their places of work or home. The polysomnography test which is considered as the gold standard and still being used as the only option available for people to undergo the testing. Unfortunately, people had to wait for weeks if not months before they could get an appointment with the clinic for the testing in an unfamiliar environment.

    The polysomnography test subjected the patient to an intrusive test with wires and tubes being attached to the body making the patient uncomfortable. The test was also unaffordable because of the high costs associated with it. The lack of insurance coverage burdened patients who often ignored the referrals provided by their physician leading to an aggravation of their condition. Matters were made even worse when sleep clinics delivered the results of the tests only after a couple of weeks.

    Technological advances made it possible for people to undergo the home sleep apnea test in conjunction with their physicians to diagnose the condition of sleep apnea. While this was not an intrusive test it wasnt in the affordable category. Patients preferred the home sleep apnea test instead of visiting a sleep clinic but still had to pay a higher price for the testing.

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    What Is The Role Of Dentists In Treating Sleep Apnea

    Because sleep apnea is a growing threat for Americans and presents such dangerous health risks, doctors and dentists must work together to address the problem. According to the American Dental Association , dentists play a key role in diagnosing patients who are suffering from sleep-related breathing disorders.

    By getting a patients full medical history, a dentist can identify symptoms and refer them to the appropriate doctor. Then, following a physical evaluation, diagnosis and sleep test, the dentist can help determine if an oral device could be an effective treatment solution. Only those trained in dental sleep medicine can provide the appropriate oral device and optimize the fit for the patient. As the patient continues sleep apnea treatment, the dentist will communicate with the physician to track progress and ensure the best treatment.

    Why Its So Important To Treat Sleep Apnea

    Its important to know that sleep apnea can be very harmful to your health. Sleep apnea can lead to negative consequences as high blood pressure, increased risk of diabetes as well as different types of heart problems .

    Another big problem is that people who have with sleep apnea cant sleep well. It goes without saying that the lack of sleep negatively affects your overall health as well as productivity. Oftentimes, sleep apnea patients experience a lot of stress in their life and suffer from depression. And of course, you should treat sleep apnea effectively to prevent the above mentioned health problems.

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    About Oral Appliance Therapy

    Oral appliance therapy requires sleep apnea patients to wear a special device in their mouth while sleeping. It is similar to a mouth guard that is worn to protect the teeth when playing sports or an orthodontic retainer. A general dentist can make a custom oral appliance for a patient, as a custom fit is important when it comes to expecting successful results. Oral appliances help keep the jaw and/or tongue in a forward position, which in turn helps keep the airway more open, allowing for easier breathing.

    What Are The Effects Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    How Can My Dentist Help Sleep Apnea?

    If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can result in a number of health problems including hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy , congestive heart failure, diabetes, and heart attacks. In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment, work-related accidents, and motor vehicle crashes as well as academic underachievement in children and adolescents.

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    How Merion Village Dental Diagnoses And Treats Sleep Apnea

    Merion Village Dental offers a gentle, non-invasive approach to diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. To first determine whether you suffer from the condition, we start with a free in-office pharyngometer test, which accurately maps the size and collapsibility of your airways. This simple test usually takes only about two to five minutes to complete.

    If the test suggests you may have obstructive sleep apnea, you will next undergo a take-home sleep study, which records your bodys biological conditions while sleeping. Our dentists will go over the studys results with you, and if they indicate you are suffering from OSA, the next step is crafting a dental appliance for you to wear.

    Some dentists or doctors prescribe a CPAP machine to treat obstructive sleep apnea, which forces air through the oral and nasal passages to keep soft tissues from collapsing. CPAP machines can be noisy, bulky and uncomfortable, which can also affect your sleep. Instead, our dentists will design a custom mouth device that will help to comfortably open your airways.

    This mouth piece is individually shaped to guide your jaw forward while sleeping, to position the soft tissues in your airways so that they dont block airflow. With an unobstructed airway, you should experience a good nights sleep starting with the first use.

    What Devices Do Dentists Recommend For Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is a serious condition that many people suffer from. As modern medicine has evolved, there are now more options for treating it. Consulting with a dentist regarding sleep apnea is becoming popular because they have a few different treatment routes that patients can take. Dental sleep medicine is a special field that focuses on treating sleeping conditions through proven dentistry methods.

    Want to know more about what dentists recommend for treating sleep apnea? This information can be especially helpful to someone who isnt sure where to turn for treatment. The condition should never go ignored and it is always a good idea to consider each option carefully.

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